What is influencer marketing and how to choose the right influencer type for your campaign?

July 20, 2021

Given the accelerated digital growth that we all went through in the last couple of years, we can safely say that anyone with a smartphone and Internet connection could become an influencer. Although not every influencer can be appropriate for your marketing campaigns, partnering up with the right ones will set you on the path for growth and success.

Influencer marketing happens when popular (and not only) communication platform users with recognizable accounts promote brands and businesses in exchange for free products and services, or financial gain. This form of marketing has been around for years now and businesses continue to rely heavily on it in 2021. In fact, according to Big Commerce, 9 out of 10 brands use influencer marketing. Furthermore, The State of Influencer Marketing 2021 report finds that the influencer marketing industry is set to grow to approximately $13.8 Billion in 2021. Because this form of marketing is quite popular and effective, we’ve decided to dive into the topic and give answers to what exactly does it mean to use influencer marketing and how to choose the right influencers for your campaigns.

What is an influencer?

Although you can find thousands of influencers on all sorts of media platforms: blogs, social media, YouTube, podcasting platforms, and others, according to backlinko.com, over 90% of influencer marketing campaigns take place on Instagram. But what exactly does it mean to be an influencer? Well, as influencermarketinghub.com puts it, you can consider someone an influencer if they have the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their followers. In that sense, celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Demi Lovato can be perceived as influencers just as much as ordinary Internet users who have grown their follower base and popularity organically through consistent posting and engagement with their followers. Additionally, influencers are often experienced in one or two main topics, which allows them to grow a following in a specific niche.

Influencer Marketing Tip: Your goal should be to collaborate with influencers that are competent on topics related to your business. For example, if you are selling shoes, you need to be on the look for fashion influencers. If you are offering short-term accommodation services, it’s best to partner up with travel influencers.

Based on the number of their followers, influencers can be divided into five main groups:

  • Nano-Influencers have the least amount of followers. Their audience is usually composed of 1 000 to 10 000 users, which means that working with them won’t grant you the widest reach possible. That being said, because of their authenticity and ability to produce highly targeted content, users can relate to nano-influencers’ posts and creatives easily. Nano-influencers have the highest engagement rate out of the five influencer groups. As marketingdive.com shares, Influencers with 5 000 to 10 000 followers have an engagement rate of 6.3%, and those with a following of 1 000 to 5 000 have a rate of 8.8%. Another benefit of working with nano-influencers is the fact that they don’t require expensive fees. Collaborating with them on Instagram will cost you between $10 and $100 per post (or simply a free gift could be enough, for example, one of your products or services) as noted by Andrew Macarthy.
  • Micro-Influencers are creators who have between 10 000 and 50 000 followers. Although their reach is wider than nano-influencers’ they still have a significantly smaller audience than mid-tier, macro, and mega influencers. That being said, 92% of customers trust a micro-influencer more than a traditional ad or an endorsement from celebrities and 82% of consumers are likely to buy products recommended by micro-influencers, according to ana.net. If you decide to collaborate with a micro-influencer on Instagram, then you should be prepared to pay anywhere between $100 and $500 per post.
  • Mid-tier influencers usually have a follower base consisting of between 50 000 and 500 000 users. As the name suggests, when it comes to popularity mid-tier influencers stand right in between the widely popular influencers and the more niche-oriented less known creators. Therefore by choosing to work with them you get the best of both worlds – a relatively high engagement rate, as well as a decent reach. When it comes to pricing, a single post in collaboration with a mid-tier influencer can cost you anywhere between $500 and $5,000 per post.
  • Macro-Influencers have an impressive amount of followers – usually between 500 000 and 1 million users. Those influencers are well-known not only on the web but often also in real life. They could be a reality TV star, an established expert, or a top-performing sports player. Despite the high reach macro-influencers’ follower base provides, engagement rates associated with campaigns in collaboration with them tend to be low. According to mmi-analytics.com, it is 6.2% on average. If you decide to work with a micro-influencer, it will cost you $5,000–$10,000 per Instagram post.
  • Mega-Influencers are the “big fish” of influencers. Think Beyonce, Shane Dawson, Christiano Ronaldo, and other celebrities. They are followed by more than one million users which grants them incredible visibility on social media. Collaborating with mega-influencers ensures great reach, which makes them the perfect choice for awareness campaigns. However, more often than not, mega-influencers have a low engagement rate of 4.96%. Because of their vast popularity, the price for collaborations with mega-influencers is very high – usually more than $10,000 per post.

Influencer Marketing Tip: If you want your influencer marketing efforts to be successful, you need to carefully analyze the specifics of your target audience and choose influencers who can grab the attention of your customers. You need to decide what type of influencers to work with based on your audience’s demographics and interests. For example, if your ideal client is a talkative, young woman, who cherishes the importance of personal connection, it might be best for you to partner up with micro- or nano-influencers because they often spend more time engaging with their followers and usually create consistent, highly targeted content.

Influencer Marketing’s Impressive Numbers

Marketers and business owners alike continue to use influencer marketing in their campaigns as we see daily. In fact, nearly 68% of US marketers from companies with 100 or more employees will use influencer marketing in 2021, and influencer and other paid content will represent 20% of US agency and marketing professionals’ digital ad budgets in 2021, as reported by Business Insider.

We shouldn’t be surprised by this data, however, because influencer marketing can help you achieve your business goals and see great results pretty quickly. Since influencers are already established authorities in their field, they are liked, followed, and trusted by many users. We could argue that some followers even perceive their favorite influencer as an idol and a role model. Therefore, when you collaborate with a respected influencer you get the chance to communicate with a very dedicated and responsive audience. Furthermore, through influencer marketing, you are able to reach an audience that is already interested in what you offer (just don’t forget to collaborate with relevant to your business influencers).

How to choose the right influencers for your campaigns?

Whether you plan to organize a giveaway, broadcast a live video stream, grant access to your social media account for a one-day takeover, or simply publish a single post that promotes your business, choosing the most suitable influencer/s for your campaign should be your highest priority when it comes to influencer marketing. There are several key points you need to consider when making this decision:

  1. The platform on which the influencer is active: If most of your customers are active Facebook users, choosing an influencer that only uses TikTok is not going to be the wisest decision you could make. That is why it’s important to research your customers’ social media behavior and settle on a platform (and influencer who’s active on it) that is often used by your target audience.
  2. The type of influencer based on his/her following: If you have a huge budget on your hands and your campaign’s goal is to spread awareness, then mega- and macro-influencers might be the best option for you. However, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money and your campaign targets hyper-niched audiences then nano- and micro-influences will do. It all depends on the goal of your campaign, your target audience, and your budget.
  3. The expertise of the influencer: Your campaign’s message should correspond to the original content the influencer usually creates. So, for example, if your campaign promotes real leather clothing, it might not be wise to contact influencers who are outspoken animal rights defenders.
  4. The demographics of the influencer’s audience: Think about whether this influencer’s followers resemble your target audience or your buyer persona. You have to be sure that the people who will hear your message are also interested in your products. Therefore it’s crucial to choose an influencer who is directing his/her messages towards a similar audience to yours.
  5. The influencer’s authenticity: You need to be sure that the follower base of your chosen influencer is authentic. As you may know, there are all sorts of platforms that offer paid followers or paid engagement and some influencers take advantage of those deals. This means that even if a given influencer has a lot of followers, their audience is composed of people who aren’t interested in the influencer’s content. And you definitely don’t want to spend money on collaborating with someone who is communicating with an uninterested audience. You can easily check if there are any drastic changes in a given influencer’s follower base by visiting socialblade.com. In case there are, it’s almost certain that the particular influencer went on a follower shopping spree recently. Additionally, through Social Blade, you can also see the engagement rate of your chosen influencer. It’s not a good idea to collaborate with influencers who have an engagement rate of less than 5%. (NB! Don’t be tempted to buy some fake followers yourself! It can actually harm your social media presence more than it could boost it, trusts us!)
  6. The reputation of the influencer: Don’t collaborate with influencers who are not well-liked amongst social media users, who have participated in public scandals, or who spread rumors about other recognizable people on the internet. After all, your brand name will be associated with this person. That is why you want to choose someone who is competent, polite, and avoids drama.

Influencer Marketing Tip: A very important aspect that you must consider is whether you want to create a B2B (business-to-business) or a B2C (business-to-consumer) campaign. While your B2C campaigns could be light, fun, and entertaining, you must take a slightly different approach when it comes to B2B influencer marketing campaigns. You should still aim to have creative content, but it’s important to choose an influencer who can target audiences with deep industry knowledge and who can communicate freely with corporate buyers. Additionally, when it comes to B2B influencer marketing, you need to carefully consider your campaign platform. For example, it will be easier for you to find and collaborate with thought industry leaders on LinkedIn than on Instagram or TikTok.

If you are still not sure what influencer marketing is, or how to choose the right influencer to collaborate with, you are more than welcome to contact us for a free consultation. As a digital marketing agency, Interval empowers businesses to grow in the digital. We’ll be glad to assist you with any marketing struggle you may have – from planning, through implementation, to analyzing.

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